This week I want to talk a bit about our eyesight. As we are deep into the times of working from home, you may have noticed that sitting a lot more, especially in weird positions on the couch with a laptop balanced on your knees, can cause back pain. That is due to to the constant static position of the muscles, poor posture and muscles tightening up. It's not too hard to see the chain of events there.
But, what about your eyesight?
What about all of the muscles in your eyes? Do they work completely different to other muscles in the body?
No, actually they don't. What it means is that when you stare at a screen, especially from a short distance like looking at your phone, you are causing your eye muscles a lot of stress. In a way, it's like sitting with poor posture all day long. Some muscles will have to work really hard all of the time in order to focus on the screen in front of us.
Staring at a screen creates an imbalance in strength and flexibility in the muscles of the eye. Combine that over a long period of time and it can cause you too have diminishing eyesight. A common problem to occur from this is myopia, or aka nearsightedness. To look at something close to us our eye muscles have to work really hard. Over a long period of time that creates an imbalance, and this makes it more difficult for us to see things clearly that are further away.
You may have noticed this if you have been on a long flight watching a lot of movies on that little screen right in front of you. For the first couple of minutes getting off the plane it's like you cannot really read any signs that are a bit further away. That quickly corrects itself, because it was just for a few hours, but when that happens day in and day out... You get the picture.
So, what can we do about it?
- Try to limit your screen time, or at least create breaks in between your screen time so that the eyes can relax. The best way for the eyes to relax is to look far away.
- At best go this outside, and pick something really far away and just relax your eyes on that for a moment. Or, let your eyes slowly trail the horizon.
- Going for a walk outside is a great way to improve eyesight and relax your eyes, because you will automatically look further away than when you are indoors.
- If you are not able to go outside, look through a window and pick an object to look at as far away as possible.
This is particularly important for kids as it seems that their chances for myopia (nearsightedness) increases greatly when screen time is allowed from an early age. Here is another article on the impact of computer use in children's vision.
There are many different ways to improve the condition of your eye muscles and also your eyesight, but you have to work at it! These days it seems more important than ever, since we are constantly surrounded by screens and rarely look up and far away. So, just like we know that we have to take care of the muscles in our body for us to be able to move well, we have to do exactly the same with the muscles of our eyes.
Check out these two videos for a start of what you can do, but of course there is plenty more then that if you want to continue this journey.
This weekend go outside and relax those eyes and improve on your eyesight!
Osteopathy, sports massage and functional nutrition in Haarlem. Taking care of zombies to olympians since 2007.